Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

06 July 2020


Forthcoming events

(see also our Calendar page for venues)
Note:  we have removed all entries up to the end of August as the events are cancelled.  The Railway Touring Company North Wales trains in July are no longer being advertised.

September 2020

Saturday 5 September Steam at Chester 'The Cheshireman' (Railway Touring Company). Norwich to Chester. Loco 6233 for part of the journey.


The Britannia Bridge in NHS blue, 4 July. Picture by Rhodri Williams.

Freight news

At 16:30 on 6 July, 66 709 Sorrento crosses Cefn Viaduct bound for Avonmouth from Penyffordd, a recent 'win' for the freight industry.  Another new flow is train  6V04 12:23 Killoch to Port Talbot Grange Sidings, Port Talbot for the steelworks. The first train ran vua Shrewsbury, but the more recent one appears to have travelled  via Stafford.

In North Wales, there are reports of a freight contract won by GBRf from  Penmaenmawr Quarry to Theale.  Also in the offing is a Llandudno Junction to Hope Cement works flow. Hope Cement is now owned by the Breedon Group; perhaps the site will act as a distribution point for the slate material.

A Dave Sallery selection

97 304 on the back of the Rail Head Treatment Train, with 97 303 on the front, 10 November 2017. The new signal ready to replace Prestatyn up distant is in the background; only three years ago but already history.

A shedload of 9F 2-10-0s.  Birkenhead shed (8H) amassed a huge number of 9Fs in the last days of steam.  This is a scene in early 1967 with eleven in view.

D5194 at Fazakerley, 30 March 1968.  photographed at Fazakerley permanent way depot on Grand National day 1968. (The race was won by Red Alligator by 20 lengths). At that time it was the practice of the BR Liverpool division to allow free access to the depot, which overlooked the course, to railway staff.  They also provided a train for us to sit in to watch the proceedings.  This year D5194 and 4 mark 2 A's was provided.  It is seen here with the racecourse in the background and a wisp of steam heat. D5194 was renumbered to 25 044 in 1973 and withdrawn on  8 July 1985.

The 'Galloping Goose' of the Statfold Barn railway seen passing the famous 'Cob Records' shop in Porthmadog High Street on 1 May 2017. It is based on a 3-foot gauge train of the Rio Grande Southern Railroad.

31 456 on an inspection saloon on 10 February 1994;  the train had been to Trawsfynydd.

Rail Head Treatment, 2008 style - by 'Skimpler'

Before we get to the autumn, a reminder about how lucky we have been in North Wales with the Rail head treatment train.  It has seen several changes of operator over the years;  I think I'm right in saying it was EWS engines the first time it ran, then went to DRS before going back to EWS (DB) and then Network Rail and Colas.  All very diverse. 

These images are from 2008 when DRS ran the North Wales RHTT.  Above, 8 November 2008 sees DRS 37 218 in ex-works condition on the embankment east of Ty-Croes having just passed the semaphore down distant. 

12 November and 'big numbers 37 605 is crossing Malltraeth Viaduct with the down working.  I like big numbers on engines as my eyesight is crap.  I have lots of "unidentified" shots from the era of the Inter-City Swallow livery with tiny numbers {haven't we all? - C.H.].

29 November was a beautiful still day and I caught 37 069 both ways either side of Rhosneigr.   On the down passing the golf course ...

...  and a wider shot on the up passing Llyn Maelog.

On 5 December I was on my way somewhere and was out early.  I managed this shot of it at Newton on the Crewe - Chester line just west of Beeston Castle. 

Crostis at Chester - images by Peter Neve

British Railways were persuaded by the system's manufacturer to construct  in 1955 a batch of ten of their standard  '9F' 2-10-0s (92020 - 92029) with Franco-Crosti boilers, which were said to offer improved thermal efficiency by heating the water on its way from the tender using waste heat from the exhaust steam. Above, 92021 (right) and 92029 are seen at Chester shed in April 1966..

The  locos in original form had a curious appearance, with the exhaust steam being finally ejected through a chimney on the side of the boiler, although a traditional chimney was also provided.   The boiler had to be built with a smaller diameter than normal to provide space for a 'pre-heater drum' below (here's a picture), and in service it was found that there was little improvement, and they were all subsequently modified with conventional boilers in the period 1959-1961.   These pictures at Chester shed were taken in 1966-67;  the position of the former side chimney could be seen by the raised section of the footplate and odd steam-pipe casing seen on on 92029 (above).

92022 seen in March 1967.

Finally, a scene near Chester station with 92025 on along train of vans on 2 June 1967. 
By November 1967 all had been withdrawn from service, with only 12 years “on the clock”.

The Cardigan Bay Express - by Graham Breakwell

On Sunday 30 August 1987 I travelled down to Aberystwyth from Shrewsbury on the 09:50 train (3  150/1 units) changing at Machynlleth onto the 11:20 connection which surprisingly was formed of 7819 Hinton Manor and 8 GWR-liveried coaches.

The first image shows the train passing Dovey Junction and the second one is at Morfa Mawddach on the approach to Barmouth Bridge in the early afternoon.   There’s an interesting video of the service on that day on YouTube.

Looking back: Stockport district - with David Pool

On 16 September 1984 Hertfordshire Railtours ran a train from St Pancras to Buxton.  On the return journey between Manchester Piccadilly and Derby the motive power was 58 007, seen here approaching Stockport Edgeley.

The Stockport to Stalybridge line is heavily used by freight trains, but passenger services were minimal for many years, with a single train once a week in one direction only. [Recently the weekly train has run for Stalybridge to Stockport and back.]  Class 108 M52045 / M51930 is at Reddish South on 27 December 1984 with the 10:08 from Stalybridge to Stockport.

On the same day at Guide Bridge, an electric unit 303 060, displaced from the Glasgow suburban workings, is on the 11:00 Manchester Piccadilly to Hadfield.

The junction at Northenden is a popular location for photographers.  On 20 August 1988 the Tunstead to Oakleigh limestone freight was unusually diverted, and 47 487 is passing the waste terminal on the double tracks from Stockport, instead of the normal approach on the single track on the left from Hazel Grove.

The 'Court Chester Railtour on 13 June 1992 from London Waterloo had taken an interesting route, reversing at Worksop and taking the Hope Valley line from Sheffield.  The green 50 007 was leading with D400 (50 050) in blue, and has left Guide Bridge heading for Denton Junction and Stockport on its way to Chester.

On 26 March 1995 a Steam Special was run between Stockport and Chester, using Ivatt Class 2MT 46441 and a Class 31 (31 432).  It has just left Stockport Edgeley on the line to Northenden.  Unfortunately I did not record details of the train operator at the time.

Romiley Junction is one of my favourite photographic locations, provided the lineside bushes have been kept in check.  The celebrity Class 101 in green (101 685) is on the 13:50 Rose Hill Marple to Manchester Piccadilly.

Vegetation growth is also a problem around Denton station, and photography of trains coming from Stockport is exceedingly difficult.  Fortunately the classic view of Denton station is still available, showing the well kept platform and signs.  Freightliner 66 551 is on 6F12, the 12:14 Ferrybridge to Fiddlers Ferry on 10 May 2017.

Coast Line, 1980s - images by Trefor Thompson

'Celebrity' loco D200 failed at Mostyn with a generator flashover  while working the 'White Rose' railtour from Leeds to Blaenau Ffestiniog on 19 April 1986. The picture above shows the train crew trying to break into Mostyn signal box, which was only opened as required.

The train was eventually rescued by 47 323 and towed to Llandudno Junction it was deposited in the depot while where 47 350 took over for the run to Blaenau, and later 47 411 returned the train from Llandudno Junction to Leeds.

D200 was returned to Crewe by 47 323 where it was repaired and worked until April 1988 when it was transferred to the National Railway Museum.  (thanks to the Class 40 Mother List for information.)

25 042 with an Up engineers saloon, Abergele, February 1985.

An unidentified class 25 heading a Down ballast working approaching Abergele,  February 1985.

Coast line 2001-2004 - images by Tim Rogers

On 30 June 2001 Chester racecourse is busy as 66 180 passes with 6F71 Chirk - Walton Yard. Empty OTA timber wagons from Chirk. Tim notes: ' This is one of early digital images taken on a Nikon 990.'

47 853 Rail Express - in Virgin's re-creation of the 'XP64' livery - on 1A49 09:19 Holyhead to Euston passes Connah's Quay, 28 June 2002.  Towards the end of the operations for Vurgin, the company repainted five Class 47s in 'heritage' liveries and named them after railway magazines. This loco later passed to Riviera Trains, and then DRS who repainted it in their standard livery. Today it is in the fleet of Locomotive Services Ltd. in rail blue livery and carrying  earlier numbers, 47 614 and D1733.

At this period, First North Western were also using Class 47s, of the 47/7 variety, hired from EWS who had inherited them from the 'Res' parcels sector. Approaching Chester on 29 June 2002, 47 781 Isle of Iona on First North Western's 1D67 10:07 Birmingham New Street to Holyhead.  This did not prove as long-lived as some of its cousins: it was scrapped in 2007.

47 727 Duke of Edinburgh's Award at Mold Junction with 1D87 08:05 Euston to Holyhead, 29 June 2002. This example, which has carried (we think) five different names and seven liveries in its lifetime, is currently owned by GB Railfreight.

On 2 July 2002, 66 516 brings a loaded ballast train through Chester station.

A year later, 28 June 2003, and an oddity in the shape of 150 203, 158 759 and 150 150 forming the 09:55 Manchester to Holyhead, seen near Mostyn.

At the  same location and date, 47 830 - still carrying First Great Western's green (with logos removed) from its days working out of London Paddington - passes with 1A62 13:35 Holyhead to Euston. The  buffet car has a different spacing of its white stripes - accidental or deliberate? Today this loco, adorned in the original to-tone livery of the class and named Beeching's Legacy, is owned by Freightliner.  The notorious Dr. B. , as well as closing many lines, introduced the 'liner train' concept.

 47 737 Resurgent was captured passing Mostyn with  1G11 13:56 Holyhead to Birmingham New Street. This loco was put in store in 2004 and scrapped in 2008.

First North Western used the First Group standard livery scheme on their new Class 175 units, while retaining a version of the original 'North Western Trains' scheme on older stock. Tim's telephoto lens captures the tendency of these carriages, like the earlier 156s from the same Metro-Cammell works, to sag slightly in the middle.

The 175s passed to Arriva Trains and Wales and now Transport for Wales, but are due to be replaced with new stock currently on order.

Thanks as always to

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